Category Archives: Transport

BORDERS RAIL PROJECT MUST NOT BE DELAYED ANY FURTHER – HUME

Borders MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, Jim Hume, has this evening said that the Scottish Government must get on with the job of delivering the long awaited Borders railway line.

The MSP made the comments in advance of an official ceremony tomorrow (Tuesday 6th November) and criticised the Scottish Government for its “botched procurement process”.

Mr Hume said:

“The SNP have already wasted time and money in a botched procurement process and until now has been unable to say when the project would be handed over to Network Rail.

“It’s vitally important that there are no more question marks over the Borders railway line.

“The SNP must make up for lost time and stick to their commitment to deliver the railway by 2014, otherwise Borderers will be left feeling short changed.”

Improvements to Train Services from December

Reacting to the news that ScotRail is to introduce improvements to the railway timetable in North East Scotland from Sunday, December 9th, Peter Bellarby, Councillor for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, said: “I am pleased to see that ScotRail and Transport Scotland are improving the train service between Aberdeen, Stonehaven and the south. At the customer forum held in June I called for more trains to call at intermediate stations between Aberdeen and Dundee so it is good to see some progress on this with Stonehaven getting an additional service to Glasgow Queen Street and more calls being made at Laurencekirk and Portlethen. The additional service on Sundays leaving Edinburgh at 16.05 for Stonehaven and Aberdeen is very welcome as it fills a gap in the timetable and should help relieve the overcrowding that often occurs on trains coming north from Edinburgh on Sunday evenings.

“These timetable changes are a step in the right direction but I will continue to press for further improvements so that we have a service that fully meets the needs of both long distance travellers and those on more local journeys.”

Local Liberal Democrat councillors call on Kincardineshire residents to put their views to the Scottish Government on the future of railway services.

North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison said: “People have the opportunity to play their part in shaping Scotland ‘s rail services. In 2014, the contract for ScotRail passenger services and funding arrangements for Network Rail in Scotland come to an end. The consultation by Transport Scotland is a crucial part of the government’s considerations.

“I have already responded and made the case – again – for the re-opening of local stations such as Newtonhill. It is folly that the Aberdeen area does not have its own commuter services. This would take some of the pressure of our roads.”

Councillor Paul Melling said: “Although passenger numbers have been increasing at Portlethen, we need more trains to stop, and a strong marketing campaign so that people know what services are available.”

Stonehaven has seen more and more people use its station, but again not all trains stop there. Councillor Peter Bellarby commented: “The extra car parking has been a great success. We need to build on that and encourage people to travel by train rather than by car.”

Mearns councillor Provost Bill Howatson said: “I am heartened by the re-opening of Laurencekirk station, which has exceeded all expectations. The crucial decision to re-open the station was made by the then Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Nicol Stephen. We need more investment like that in our local rail services.”

Councillor Mollison added: “This is the chance for people to have their say, rather than just mutter into their coffees!”

The consultation ends on Monday 20 February. Further details can be found at the www.transportscotland.gov.uk website.
Access Transport Scotland Website and take part in the Consuktation

More Trains at Broughty Ferry, but not Stonehaven!

There are some changes to the railway timetable from December 12th with more trains (5 in one direction and 4 in the other) stopping at Broughty Ferry on a trial basis. It means that there will be direct trains from Stonehaven to Broughty Ferry on weekdays at 06.52, 09.53, 14.20, 1620, 22.46 (Mondays to Thursdays) and 23.41 (Fridays) with return trains at 06.31, 09.45, 11.07, 17.47 and 23.10.

There are improvements further south with more Glasgow – Dundee trains, for example.

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Councillor, Peter Bellarby, said “The present service at Broughty Ferry is woeful so I welcome the improvements. However, nothing has been done to address the very real problems at Stonehaven. These include the large gap in service to Aberdeen between 08.22 and 09.34 on weekdays, the overcrowding on peak time services and the less than ideal service provided for commuters coming back from Dyce. There is also the call for a later train back from Aberdeen in the evening. I have therefore written to both Transport Scotland and Nestrans urging action at the earliest opportunity. Stonehaven needs and deserves a better train service.”

New Transport Minister must take action on Laurencekirk flyover

Supporters of the Laurencekirk flyover campaign are delighted that a new minster has replaced the heavily criticised  Stewart Stevenson MSP.

Angus and Mearns Lib Dem campaigner, Sanjay Samani commented:

“Laurencekirk junction has been the scene of several fatalities and many serious accidents in recent years, but has been ignored by the previous SNP minister.”

“This is a great opportunity to restore credibility to Transport Scotland’s road safety reputation. The previous SNP minister claimed flyover decisions were made on the basis of safety, but when forced to reveal accident figures by Laurencekirk campaigners, it was clear that congestion was of higher priority to Mr Stevenson.”

“A Transport Scotland spokesperson has stated that the new minister, Keith Brown MSP, will be reviewing all issues under his new portfolio, including  Laurencekirk junction. This is welcome news but Mr Brown needs to take action quickly to prevent further accidents at the junction.”

“Supporters of the campaign, like myself, will be bitterly disappointed by any further delaying tactics. As one MSP on the Petitions Committee put it, Mr Stevenson treated the Committee with “contempt”.  Mr Brown needs to distance himself from his predecessor, by being open and decisive.”

Angus Councillor David May has joined Mr Samani in inviting the new minister, Keith Brown MSP, to see the crossing at rush-hour when it is at its busiest.

Cllr May commented

“I will be writing to the petitions committee to make the offer of that meeting and would be delighted if the new minister would accept. Perhaps I am being a little cycnical but I am concerned that this will once again be kicked into the long grass by the SNP.”

“It is absolutely crucial that this junction is in the 20-year strategic plan — the evidence for the need for the flyover is all there.”

Cllr May added, “Unfortunately the fatalities and the accidents are here and now, this should have been addressed by now.”

Transport Secretary recalled by Petitions Committee to justify Laurencekirk Flyover decision


Supporters have expressed huge relief that Jill Campbell’s petition for a flyover at Laurencekirk has not been closed.  There were real concerns after Nigel Don MSP had twice suggested it be closed at previous meetings of the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee.

Furthermore, supporters were delighted to learn that the Committee has asked Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson to appear before them to explain his decision not to build a flyover at Laurencekirk.

Safety figures, finally released by the Scottish Government, revealed that there have been no fatal accidents at three flyovers approved by the Minister, in comparison to four tragic fatalities at Laurencekirk, including one just last year.

Lib Dem Campaigner for Angus and Mearns, Sanjay Samani has joined local Montrose councillor David May in welcoming the news.

Commenting on the news, Sanjay said:

“Mr Stevenson has been forced to admit that congestion played a big part in his decision making.  Given that he has previously stated that safety was the main criteria, it is absolutely right that he be recalled to justify his decisions to the Petitions Committee.”

“Others, like Mr Don, have also confused safety with congestion, by linking the need for a flyover to the building of new houses near Laurencekirk. Those who have supported Jill’s campaign for a long time know that the flyover needs to be built on safety grounds alone. The Government’s own figures back that up.”

Cllr May, who wrote again to the petitions committee with further evidence justifying the need for action on the junction, added:

“I am pleased that developments in Montrose have been recognised as adding to the risks of further tragic accidents at Laurencekirk.  It still beggars belief that the Transport Minister has chosen to ignore the evidence he has always had in front of him.”

“I have said before that both Sanjay and I are willing to meet the SNP minister any week-day morning at 7.30 at the junction and he could see for himself the need for a flyover.”

North East MSP and Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, Alison McInnes also commented:

“The Minister has let down everyone in the area with his cavalier approach to road safety improvements. No one locally doubts the need for proper safe junctions on this stretch of road, it is a pity that Stewart Stevenson isn’t listening.”